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Showing 1 post in Retaliation by Association.

Retaliation by Association

Posted In Employment Discrimination Laws, Employment Law, Retaliation by Association

Last January, the U.S. Supreme Court expanded those protected under the retaliation provisions of Title VII and included employees who have a close family relationship to a person who has made a complaint of discrimination.  Previously, only those persons who actually made or supported a complaint were protected by law.  However, in Thompson v. North American Stainless, the Supreme Court unanimously held that it is an unlawful employment practice to fire or otherwise retaliate against an employee's "close family member" who has filed claim of discrimination.  In Thompson, two employees were engaged to one another.  The female co-worker filed a claim of discrimination against her supervisors and subsequently, the male was fired.  The male filed a claim of retaliation under Title VII claiming that his termination was in retaliation for his fiance's discrimination complaint. While the Sixth Circuit held that he did not state a claim under the statute as one who "engaged in protected activity," the U.S. Supreme Court reversed holding that the anti-retaliation provisions protect conduct that may disuade a worker from making or supporting a charge of discrimination.  As applied in this case, the Court determined that the female co-worker may have been disuaded from making a claim of discrimination if she knew that her fiance could be fired as a result.  This case gives a cause of action to the "close family member" for retaliation and opens employers up to additional liability.

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